Marley Spoon, also known as “Martha & Marley Spoon”, is one of the most popular meal kits available. This is namely due to the fact that they have the legend herself, Martha Stewart, as the face of their company.
Even with their popularity and Martha Stewart backing them, is Marley Spoon actually worth it?
We’ve used (and previously reviewed) the Martha & Marley Spoon meal kit since 2017. However, a lot has changed in that time.
Today we’re going to dive in and find out if Marley Spoon is still worth it by looking at their meals, plans, cooking process, and (most importantly) how everything tastes.
About Marley Spoon
All the popular meal kits these days have unique names and Marley Spoon is no different. However, theirs actually has an interesting backstory. Apparently, the founders were backpacking through Asia when a huge storm hit and they were forced to take shelter in a restaurant called “Marley’s”. The delicious, home cooked meals they ate to wait out the storm stuck with them and they decided to honor their experience by naming their new meal kit “Marley Spoon”.
How did Martha Stewart get involved? Well, Marley Spoon originated in Germany before making its way to the United States. The founders wanted to ease the transition to compete with the bigger US meal kits at the time (Blue Apron and HelloFresh) so they partnered with Martha Stewart to feature her recipes and cooking techniques in an all-in-one meal kit.
How Marley Spoon Works
Marley Spoon works almost exactly like all of the other popular meal kits out there. When you sign up, they ask you some questions to get a better idea of what types of recipes to recommend to you:
- What kind of recipes do you like? Vegetarian, beef, fish, lamb, pork, poultry, and/or shellfish?
- Do you prefer recipes that are quick or relaxed?
- Do you prefer recipes that are traditional or adventurous?
- Do you prefer recipes that are hearty or light?
- Do you prefer recipes that are mild or spicy?
They then give you a few example meals and ask if you like it, love it, or if it’s “not for me”.
Based on my answers, they seemed to do a good job of showing me meals that fit my preferences. Then again, I filled it out pretty broadly since I’m not too picky one way or another when it comes to food.
From there, you’ll have the ability to select your meals for the week (more on them below). They then send you those recipes, along with all the ingredients to make the meal. The ingredients come pre-bagged and pre-measured to make the cooking process a bit easier. Sometimes certain ingredients come pre-chopped or sliced too.
Marley Spoon’s Meal Plans
As of writing this, Marley Spoon offers 2 different meal plans—a two person meal plan and a four person meal plan. Within each of these plans, you can select how many different recipes you’d like to receive each week: 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6.
Each box you can make vegetarian. However, I found this severely limits the amount of meals you can select. For example, if you don’t select the vegetarian option, you have access to around 30 recipes per week. If you do select the vegetarian option, you have access to around 10. So, if you are looking for a purely vegetarian meal kit, you may want to consider other options like Sprinly or Purple Carrot.
Marley Spoon’s Meal Variety
Having used Marley Spoon for around 4 years at this point, the best way I can describe their meals is that they take fancy versions of classics and pare them down to be much easier to make. These are definitely Martha Stewart style meals. And by that I mean, they feel like an upgraded, fancy version of a home cooked meal.
In addition to dinners, Marley Spoon offers some lunch, dessert, and additional meat options as well. Here’s a brief idea of what types of foods you may find in each category:
Dinner Meal Examples
- Bacon Skillet Meatloaf with Garlic Mash
- Sweet Corn & Bacon Spaghetti with Parmesan & Fresno Chile
- Braised Chicken Thighs with Carrots, Olives & Orzo
Lunch Meal Examples
Additional Meat Examples
As you can see, Marley Spoon offers a pretty good variety of meals. I wouldn’t say there’s super adventurous meals like there are with Sunbasket. That being said, the meals they do offer seem to go that extra step to make them a bit more “gourmet”. This makes sense, given the fact that they’re trying to mimic Martha Stewart’s recipes.
Marley Spoon Recipe Cards
One thing that I’ve found Marley Spoon does really well is their recipe cards. As you can see in the picture above of one of our recipe cards, they organize the recipe into 6 steps and don’t overload you with too much text to follow in each step.
What I’ve seen before with some meal kits is that they will say that a recipe only has 6 steps but they actually cram a ton of other steps into one step. Marley Spoon doesn’t do that, at least not too frequently, based on my experience.
Another element of the recipe card that we’ve found super helpful is the pictures at each step. A lot of the popular meal kits do this these days so it’s nothing new or revolutionary but it is still helpful to visually see where you should be at each step of the cooking process.
Also, the recipe paper is actually pretty durable. It has stood up to spills and food drops pretty well without deteriorating.
Marley Spoon’s Delivery & Packaging
Who delivers your Marley Spoon box is going to depend on where you live. In New Jersey, where we live, LaserShip delivers our Marley Spoon boxes.
Based on our past experience and from what I can see from shipment tracking, none of our boxes have taken longer than 2 days to go from Marley Spoon to our doorstep.
One thing to keep in mind though is that some people have unreliable local delivery drivers. This is something to consider when ordering a meal kit in general. Does your local delivery driver constantly delay your packages? Have they delivered your boxes to the wrong address before? When it comes to meal kits, you don’t want to have delays longer than 24 hours or the food inside the box could end up spoiling.
With that said, Marley Spoon does a decent job of packaging the food inside the box so it stays safe and insulated.
The box is insulated based on where you live. So they’ve been sending our boxes with a thinner insulation. In places where it’s hot out, such as the south, they switch to a thicker insulation.
Another aspect of their packaging I particularly like is that they do a good job making it recyclable.
- The plastic on the ice pack can be recycled after being drained.
- The box liner, both the thinner foil pouches and thicker cotton versions are both recyclable.
- The ingredient packaging is all recyclable with #1 and #4 plastics.
Another thing that Marley Spoon has started doing is giving you the option to not receiving printed recipe cards and instead receive a digital recipe card sent to you via email. I like this idea from a sustainability viewpoint. However, I have to say that using your phone or even a tablet to view a recipe as you cook can sometimes be a pain. I usually find myself smearing my phone and worry about getting it dirty when cooking.
Managing Your Marley Spoon Account
When you actually become a subscriber, you’ll have access to your own account where you select all of your meals each week.
I’ve found that they do a decent job of organizing the meals to make it easy to select what you prefer. They categorize meals by vegetarian/vegan, meat and fish, health and diet, under 30 minutes, family-friendly, and “special” (lunches, desserts, and meat packs).
Sometimes I forget to add recipes to our box before the cutoff time. If this happens to you, there’s no need to worry. I’ve found Marley Spoon does a good job of selecting recipes for you based on your taste preferences you initially set-up when creating your account. It’s definitely not perfect but most of the meals have ended up working out for us.
Let’s say your taste profile changes or you want to have other meals recommended to you instead, you can pretty easily update that in the settings section.
Knock on wood, we’ve never had an incident with Marley Spoon that has led us to contact customer support.
That being said, when researching for this review, I noticed that some people have had a hard time getting ahold of support. This is because Marley Spoon has taken away their chat feature, leaving people with just email instead.
The Marley Spoon Phone App
Like many other popular meal kits out there, Marley Spoon has a phone app for iOS and Android. Is it necessary to download? No, not really.
I find it makes managing your account a little more convenient since it’s easier to log in and rate past meals (to allow them to make better recommendations). Other than that, it’s mainly the same as their website.
However, if you choose not to have your recipe cards sent to you, you can easily access all your recipes from the app.
I would recommend not using the Marley Spoon app to initially sign-up for their service and instead use their main website. This is because you are not able to see the recipes within the app before giving your payment information. Whereas on the Marley Spoon website, they allow you to see what’s on the menu before paying for their service.
Cooking Our Recent Marley Spoon Meals
Now to the fun part… The meals!
Here’s a breakdown of our honest thoughts from cooking each recipe.
Take-Out Style Skillet Chicken Fajitas
This is the meal you can see us cook in our review video here. Although it looks involved with chopping and cooking everything separately, it was fairly simple to make. One of the best parts of this recipe, and many Marley Spoon recipes that we’ve tried before, is that they only need a few kitchen utensils. For this one, we just needed to use one cast iron pan. This makes clean up much easier.
Spice-Crusted Steak with Frizzled Onions and Chopped Salad
This recipe surprised me, and not in a good way. Something just seemed off in this recipe right from the start. First, it seemed much more involved than most of the other Marley Spoon recipes we’ve had in the past and even required some extra items that not many people may have just laying around (such as flour).
We also found that the recommended cooking time for the steak was way off. In fact, we ended up having to cook it nearly double the amount of time they recommended and it still was a bit on the rare side. Technically, this could have been because the steaks were pretty thick.
Lastly, we followed all the steps for the “frizzled”onions but they just came out mushy. This could all be due to user error on our part but I would say this recipe was definitely a miss.
Food Box HQ Note: If you want to see more meal examples from people who are Marley Spoon subscribers, check out the /r/marleyspoon subreddit forum. I've found it to be really helpful when we look for new Marley Spoon recipes to try.
One of the things I like most about Marley Spoon is that they generally do a great job of taking a fancy recipe and making it much more manageable to cook. Recently though, I’ve noticed that some recipes have been more hit or miss (like the recipes above—one great, one not so great).
This could be a growing problem (since more people than ever are using meal kits) or something else entirely. Whatever it is, I hope they get it sorted out soon.
Meal Taste Test
Now let’s talk about what these meals actually taste like…
- Take-Out Style Skillet Chicken Fajitas: This meal came out absolutely delicious. The spice level was perfect and was actually just barely spicy. The sour cream gives it a nice balance. Marinating the chicken helped it soak up all the spices and it ended up cooking perfectly tender pieces for the fajita. The veggies were fresh and crisp. Overall, definitely a winner.
- Spice-Crusted Steak with Frizzled Onions and Chopped Salad: I wish we had the same meal experience with this one. Unfortunately, a lot of things seemed to go wrong in the cooking process and messed with the actual taste of the meal. We couldn’t get the steak to cook right, the onions came out incorrectly (weren’t crispy like they should have been), and there seemed to be way too much salad. Maybe too much salad is a good thing for some people but I felt like I was eating way more salad than the actual meal. It wasn’t a terrible meal but I wouldn’t order it again.
Marley Spoon vs. The Competition
When it comes to comparing Marley Spoon to other popular meal kits available, they’re very similar in the core service they all provide. For each, you select the recipes you want and they send them to you.
Where these meal kits start to differ is in the little details. To give you an example from my personal experience, Marley Spoon is very comparable to HelloFresh and Blue Apron in terms of offerings. Each really focus on dinner meals and then branch out to some other offerings like lunches and desserts.
In comparing Marley Spoon to other popular meal kits, there are still little differences to consider before making your final decision. Here are the most comparable meal kits and their differences:
- Marley Spoon vs. HelloFresh: In my opinion, Marley Spoon is most like HelloFresh. They both offer similar types of recipes. However, I find HelloFresh to be more oriented to those who are looking for more efficient recipes (making it perfect for new cooks). Another thing to note is that HelloFresh seems to have more add on options. For example, in a recent HelloFresh box we added avocados to our box, something you can’t do with Marley Spoon. That being said, Marley Spoon does sometimes have smoothies as a "meal".
- Marley Spoon vs. Blue Apron: Blue Apron, which is similar to HelloFresh, is also similar to Marley Spoon. However, I tend to prefer the taste of Marley Spoon meals.
- Marley Spoon vs. Sunbasket: While both Marley Spoon and Sunbasket are super popular meal kit options, they’re not that similar. Sunbasket offers way more customization abilities. For example, they’ve transformed their service from just a meal kit to an entire marketplace (including snacks, meats, sides, and even premade meals). I also find Sunbasket offers more adventurous meals than Marley Spoon does (which tend to be more classic and traditional).
Marley Spoon Pricing
Marley Spoon makes pricing pretty straightforward. Here’s a breakdown of pricing depending on your plan selection.
2 Person Plan Pricing Per Meal
- 2 meals per week comes out to $10.99 per portion
- 3 meals per week comes out to $9.49 per portion
- 4 meals per week comes out to $8.99 per portion
- 5 meals per week comes out to $8.99 per portion
- 6 meals per week comes out to $8.49 per portion
4 Person Plan Pricing Per Meal
- 2 meals per week comes out to $8.99 per portion
- 3 meals per week comes out to $7.99 per portion
- 4 meals per week comes out to $7.99 per portion
- 5 meals per week comes out to $7.49 per portion
- 6 meals per week comes out to $6.99 per portion
As you can see, the more you order, the less expensive it becomes on a per-meal basis.
One thing to note is no matter what plan you go with, Marley Spoon will always charge you shipping ($8.99 per box).
Marley Spoon Pros & Cons
Now that we’ve gone in-depth on our experience using Marley Spoon over the years and how it works, let’s talk about some of the things I love and what I don’t…
Marley Spoon Pros
- They have some of the best tasting meals. Even with our recent meal issue, the meals Marley Spoon puts together, on a whole, are delicious. Here’s an older video where you can see another positive cooking and taste experience.
- They’re true to the Martha Stewart brand. Martha Stewart has always done a great job of making meals that are best described as “attainable luxury”. She takes a meal that seems elaborate and makes it easy for any skill level to create. Marley Spoon is the same way.
- The portion sizes are decently big. Something I didn’t mention above but you could see in the images and videos are the portion sizes for many meals are pretty big. For example, I mentioned that the spice-crusted steak meal did include a huge salad and the previous review’s burger was pretty big too.
Marley Spoon Cons
- The meals can be inconsistent. As you can tell from our recent box (cooking and taste test) we had one negative experience. While not every meal is like this, I’ve found that there has recently been more inconsistency among recipes, as others have pointed out here.
- Poor customer service. Recently, many people have had issues contacting their support staff due to them taking away the chat feature. This is something I hope that they update and deal with in the near future.
- Limited food variety. With Marley Spoon, you really only get dinner meals. Yes, they offer some lunches and desserts but there is not enough of those options to cover a full day’s worth of meals with a single Marley Spoon box.
Marley Spoon Coupons
If you’ve made it this far and you’re looking to try Marley Spoon, you’re in luck. We’ve collected the best coupons out there to help save you some money…
- Coupon code “4FIT2U” will get you $80 off your first 4 boxes.
- Coupon code “SAVE10” will get you $10 off your first 3 orders.
- This link should activate $100 off your first 4 boxes. (As an FYI, this is our affiliate link.)
We like to include a variety of different types of coupons just in case one of them doesn’t work when you’re checking out. If you know of any others, feel free to let us know in the comments below!
Final Thoughts: Who Is Marley Spoon Right For?
Even with some of Marley Spoon’s quirks (such as reduced customer service) and some meal inconsistency, I still consider them one of the best meal kits out there (especially for those looking for Martha Stewart style recipes).
That being said, they aren’t perfect for everyone. Their recipes aren’t the quickest, so if you’re looking for an easy meal kit to make, maybe consider their lower-priced option, Dinnerly.
The meals are also mostly dinners so Marley Spoon is not going to replace going to the grocery store like a meal kit such as Sunbasket would.
If Marley Spoon is able to make their meal kit meals a bit more consistent in terms of cooking and taste, as well as add the chat feature back to their customer support, I would easily consider them one of the top 5 meal kits out there.
Have a question about Marley Spoon we didn’t answer? Leave your comment below and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible!
My family loves Martha's Marley Spoon! This is our first meal delivery subscription and we're so happy we finally did it. Her recipes are so delicious that the kids even join me in the kitchen to help cook. Thanks Martha!
I just hopped over to the website, and shipping is NOT free - it is $8.99 - just like Dinnerly 0 which I believe is another branch of Marley Spoon. When did the shipping costs start up? Not such a deal anymore...
It looks like they added that shipping charge recently. Sorry about that! There are other similar boxes out there that have free shipping.
I have been seeing these ads ever since I started to look at all of these meal kit services. I have looked at HelloFresh, Blue Apron, and Marley Spoon. I am trying to learn how to cook better meals for my family. These all look like they will help teach me but I do not see what the differences are between them. Can you help me?
I would consider all three options you listed as good for learning how to cook. If I had to choose one, I would go with HelloFresh. They've consistently had delicious meals and they give you a lot of recipe options to choose from for different skill levels.
Marley Spoon is great until it isn't. I had a box that did not arrive on time. When it did show up, the ice was melted and all of the protein was warm to the touch and not safe to eat. Getting help is a bit of a challenge. Their customer service reps will tell you what you want to hear and then not deliver. They listen to the complaints, sound like they really want to help, tell you they will be sending you an email and that email never arrives. When calling there is also a very good chance that the call will be disconnected. I find it hard to believe that @marthastewart48 would attach her name to this company.
I'm so sorry to hear that, Darlene! On that same topic, we noticed that a few meals have been more "hit or miss" recently.
I am single and 70. Do you have meals for one person?
Hey Teresa! Check out our list of meal delivery services for singles here: https://foodboxhq.com/blog/best-meal-delivery-services-for-one-person/
We have been using Marley Spoon for the past year. There have been no issues with our boxes so far but my neighbor who just started his subscription says his first box was delivered to the wrong house and he had trouble getting a credit from them.
How is Marley Spoon for big families of 5? We are big eaters!
You may want to check out a meal kit that can handle bigger servings since you have to feed 5 people. Marley Spoon only has plans for 2 people or 4 people. Sunbasket and Home Chef might be good options to consider since both can handle bigger families.
Do they have already prepared meals too? I saw that Home Chef is now offering pre made meals with their plans which I think makes sense for my schedule.
They do occasionally offer pre-made meals (here's an example).
I'm in no way a good enough cook to make these 😂. Are there easier and simple recipe meal kits out there for people who don't know how to cook??
Check out EveryPlate and Dinnerly. Both are pretty cheap compared to most of the other meal kit options out there (coming in around $5 per meal). Because of this, their recipes are usually pretty simple and only use a few ingredients. Even though they're simple meals, I've been pleasantly surprised by just how flavorful they are.
I do not like Brussel sprouts and a few other items. My husband n I have tried out two other services. You tell them at the beginning what u like and what u dislike because u are paying for this. I have quit the past two well known food delivery services because we were not getting what we ordered. Too bad u can’t see what is on the menu before putting in our credit card info
Hey Jan, you can check out the Marley Spoon menu here before adding in any payment info.